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November 30, 2004

Happy Day-By-Day!

It is a wonderful thing indeed - Chris Muir and Day by Day are back tomorrow!

It's an early Christmas present - yay!

Chris has had a difficult few months, so I appreciate his coming back to entertain and inform us. I can't wait to find out how badly Jan took Bush's election (will she show up on the "sorry everybody" website?). And Damon - will he start wearing a t-shirt saying, "I'm in the majority - the Bush majority!"? I suspect Zed and Sam will mostly be grateful that they can again have ketchup with their french fries without making a political statement.

I wonder if Chris can be bribed to give me an advance peek ...

Posted by susanna at 08:52 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

November 29, 2004

Home again

It was not my intent not to post while I was home for the holidays, but it was a very nice break. I saw some friends, spent a lot of time with my family, and enjoyed Thanksgiving in Kentucky for the first time in five years. I'm back in Alabama now, ready to take up the yoke of blogging refreshed and ready to go.

Here's a scene from Friday:

Girls throw rocks 11-26-04 cropped smlr.jpg
Molly Katherine and Haydon throw rocks in the creek
as Alan and Dad watch

I hope your holiday was as wonderful as mine.

Posted by susanna at 09:39 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

November 19, 2004

You are what you think about eating

I can't say that this new Monster Burger at Hardee's appeals to me - I am at times overwhelmed by my decades-long standard at Wendy's, a single cheese, no pickles, extra tomato. But you have to admire the chutzpah of marketing such a thing in today's tight-lipped, tied down food morality police. The headline of the article:

Hardee's unveils the ‘Monster Thickburger’
Really hungry? How about 1,420 calories and 107 grams of fat?

Ouch! Why, I could eat over a pint of Haagen Daz's best for those calories! (Don't ask how I know that.)

It's obvious that the battle lines have been drawn, and both sides know what's at steak stake. The first volley in the article comes from the Hardee's CEO:

"If you're the romaine lettuce and raspberry vinaigrette crowd, this is not your burger," admits Hardee's President and CEO Andy Puzder.

Somehow I suspect a better descriptor of Puzder's comment would be "sneers", rather than "admits". Can you just see the reflexive snarl of all macho men when they see the term "the romaine lettuce and raspberry vinaigrette crowd"? It calls up more-effete-than-they-really-are images of Alan Alda and Ralph Nader.

The food morality police return fire:

Michael Jacobsen, the executive director of the Center for Science in the Public Interest, says this is a heart attack in a bun.

"These 'Thickburgers' are quintessential food porn — oozing with artery-clogging fat," says Jacobson.

Food porn, he calls it. That brings up images I don't even want to articulate. See how explicitly he makes this a matter of morality, using the term "porn"? And he's not joking, unlike, say, the "Furniture porn" guys (nope, no link. Do your own googling!).

I suspect that Red America is more about the burger, while the Blue States are the major center for the raspberry vinaigrette* crowd. I wonder if this too is a Rovian strategy to further distance the Blues from the Reds?

* I admit to being very fond of raspberry vinaigrette, which is quite lovely on any number of kinds of salads. I don't, however, find food a moral issue, except in the case of gluttony, which I also won't discuss because I suspect I'd be (rightly) accused of having a bad case of speck/plank syndrome if I did.

Posted by susanna at 09:18 AM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

November 18, 2004

The LORD made the heavens


6:10 a.m.
November 18, 2004
Columbiana, Alabama

...the LORD made the heavens.
Honor and majesty are before Him;
Strength and beauty are in His sanctuary.

--Psalm 96:5-6

Originally posted at 6:22 a.m.; time edited to move it to the top of the page.

Posted by susanna at 07:00 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Tina Brown maps NYC, media PEST

You've heard about the Post Election Stress Trauma that's eaten a chunk of Florida liberals. Well, now Tina Brown (writing in WaPo, oddly enough) entertains us with a glimpse at the elites of Manhattan suffering a resentful version itself:

Two weeks after the election, the erstwhile power center of the universe has heaved itself up from the shrink's couch and trudged on, but it's still wearing dark glasses. What makes it worse is all the political news booming away out there. The Bush Cabinet reshuffle is like a percussion band playing in the room next door when you're trying to sleep. All that crashing and banging of big careers and exiting reputations -- will somebody please turn it off? Don't they know politics is over? Can't they take a damn breather from running the world?

Pretty funny. Brown also finds the media elite in whine mode at their newly discovered irrelevance - mentioning blogs as part of the implicit cause:

News anchors who had to spend a heroic year as the only mortals on the planet who couldn't voice an opinion are sullen now with their perceived irrelevance. They refuse to sing for their suppers when guests at media gatherings ask them for a political update. As one of them burst out the other day when I inquired about the Cabinet shakeup: "We analyzed it! We parsed it. We psychoanalyzed it! We did their wives, their aides, their psychographics! We did the effect of prep school and their fathers! And none of it mattered! All I want to talk about now is the new diet pill."

...People forget that when the Clinton war room was created in 1992, we had three TV networks and CNN. There were no blogs or Web sites. The world has changed and so has politics.

There's a not-so-buried point here: If the big media thinks its coverage didn't matter, then it must have had a goal it didn't achieve. Of course we know what that goal was, but it's amusing to see an admission, however obscured by whining. And I think it's significant that Brown thinks it significant that the Clinton war room owes something to there being an effective major media monopoly during its formation. Not that we didn't suspect it. And a little commentary about the Hillary transformation to come:

The biggest danger to mental health is to sit around debating the rightness or wrongness of Hillary Clinton in '08. Most sane Democrats right now are on a listening tour. Which means listening to each other say they must have a good-ol'-boy, red-state, glad-handing governor, not an intimidating northeastern liberal amazon...

[E]veryone also knows that by the time Hillary has gotten done with her transformation back from New York senator to daughter of Chicago crossed with Arkansas, they'll be opening their wallets again with the same old abandon.

She's effectively contradicting herself here, basically criticizing the liberal leaders for telling themselves they need a good ole boy instead of Hillary the Amazon, then turning around and pointing out that Hillary herself will reinvent her persona to be that "good ole boy" by the next presidential election cycle. But hey, we'll give her a pass. She's giving in to her inner PEST.

And we won't even go into the snide little arrogance of this:

As author Kati Marton put it fiercely, "Osama bin Laden knows where the beating heart of America lies -- which is why he targeted New York City, not a shopping mall in Kansas."

I wonder how long that beating heart would last if it were cut off from the body and left lying on a hot Upper East Side sidewalk.

Posted by susanna at 06:52 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

US: Stay home!

Shane Scott, a self-admitted paleocon, makes an argument that Bush needs to cleanse his administration of warmongering neocons. In his comments, I tell him he's naive.

Somehow I'm thinking he'll disagree.

UPDATE: It's been called to my attention that this could be construed as dismissive of Shane and his argument. That's not my intent at all. I know Shane personally, and he's quite sharp. I might even admit that he's smarter than me in some areas. But he takes the same political position about the US and the Iraq war that my brother and his brother in law Mitch also take, so I saw this as kind of the latest installment of an ongoing conversation. I disagree with all three of them. Amazing that three such intelligent men consistently get this issue wrong. And won't even admit it.

Maybe I just haven't explained myself clearly enough, a la the Democrats in the latest unlamented election...

Posted by susanna at 05:24 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

The Dems want to get the religion right

Alan has an excellent post linking an article on the Dems puzzling over how to get the religious folk into their column without actually, you know, changing their positions.

Posted by susanna at 05:05 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

November 17, 2004

The Marine and the wounded insurgent - a must read

A Marine serving in Iraq gives context to the current wailing about a Marine who apparently shot and killed a wounded terrorist in Fallujah.

If you think he did the wrong thing, this will change your mind.

And it should.

You must read it.

Posted by susanna at 05:37 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

A different Election 2004 county map

So where did Bush do better in 2004 than 2000?

Patrick Ruffini has the county map to show you.

It's interesting to see where the red pops up - that's places where Bush did less well in 2004 than in 2000. It's not always where you'd think. I'm curious to see a map that overlays where he won with where he did less well. Btw - there's only one county in New York state, including New York City, where Bush did worse in 2004 than in 2000.

Posted by susanna at 09:08 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

November 16, 2004

Shred his skin with printed spam

And that would be too good for him.

Not that I'm bitter.

[Hat tip Radio Blogger]

Posted by susanna at 04:02 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

News flash! Rush Limbaugh is not a DNC AHA approved therapist!

It's hard to be serious about serious things when people get serious about silly things. Case in point:

Mental health officials in South Florida blasted Rush Limbaugh on Monday, saying the conservative talk show host’s offer of “free therapy” for traumatized John Kerry voters has made a mockery of a valid psychological problem.

“Rush Limbaugh has a way of back-handedly slamming people,” said Sheila Cooperman, a licensed clinician with the American Health Association (AHA) who listened Friday as Limbaugh offered to personally treat her patients. “He’s trying to ridicule the emotional state this presidential election produced in many of us here in Palm Beach County. Who is he to offer therapy?”

The Boca Raton News reported last week that more than 30 distraught Kerry supporters in South Florida contacted the non-profit AHA following their candidate’s Nov. 3 concession to President Bush. AHA officials have diagnosed the disorder as Post Election Selection Trauma (PEST) and have scheduled the first of several free group therapy sessions for just after Thanksgiving.

I count myself on the front lines of advancing knowledge about mental illness and disorders, encouraging people to learn the difference between a true disorder and a product-of-living-life mood swing. I've personally confronted a variety of people, including preachers, when they've been dismissive of mental illness as a genuine concern. I've taught college-level psychology courses, and talked to people about the value of medication for psychological problems. So I can hardly be counted as a ridiculer of psychology in general.

And I find this PEST - so aptly named! - to be vastly amusing.

These people need to get a sense of humor and a grip on life. I would have been quite distressed if John Kerry had won the election, with more genuine reason than the anti-Bushies. As part of those with strongly conservative religious and political beliefs, I was actively targeted and maligned by Kerry's most active supporters. I was put on notice that a Kerry win would mean that my influence would be nothing, and if they could arrange it, I'd be sent out of the public square on a rail. I and my family and friends were demonized, lied about and sneered over. So I had a lot to lose if Kerry won. Would I have been depressed? No, not clinically, nor would I have lapsed into a stupor, considered suicide or, practically speaking, planned on leaving the country. You see, I'm an adult. And I question the extent to which these PEST types are.

As my brother Alan says, it's just self-parody. And the "mental health" types are egging it on. It's things like what they're doing that make it more difficult for genuine mental problems to get the respect and thus treatment they need. And complaining that Rush isn't qualified to give therapy...!! DOH! He's as qualified as they are to give the election therapy the PEST folks need. However, I suspect everyone diagnosed with it has got some, shall we say, co-occurring pathologies that might have an impact on their development of this new syndrome.

Of course, I think that's true of a lot of the extreme left-wing, but that's for another post.

The very best part of the whole article is the end:

On Nov. 12, accused by Gordon of picking up the story to rub it in the faces of Democrats, Limbaugh said, “Now, my friends, I didn’t do that. I reached out. I offered a hand of friendship. I offered my own counseling services.”

AHA officials, listening to the taped broadcasts, described Limbaugh’s tone of voice as sarcastic.

Not only are they highly trained mental health professionals, they're also very skilled at picking up subtle verbal nuances! Give them all a raise!

[Thanks to Alan for the link.]

Posted by susanna at 03:28 PM | Comments (7) | TrackBack

Okay, I'll play

I don't drink adult beverages, which is to say, those with alcoholic content, limiting myself to those of childhood: water, milk, various fruit juices, the occasional caffeinated drink when Mom says it's okay. I don't even drink coffee.

My only alcohol-related addiction in recent times is Vodkapundit, a sober way to enjoy the effects of mind-altering substances. But lately, due to the horror of unreliable Internet connection, the Vodkapundit has been aging in quiet instead of pouring his vintage wisdom on our heads. So, we must call down anger on the heads of his Internet provider, known lovingly as Indicted Cable. And hope that Green is released to pour forth again soon.

Posted by susanna at 10:34 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

In aid of "story"...

It appears that 60 Minutes just can't help themselves, like an alcoholic reeling into another bender. Sunday night they presented a story on Emmett Till, a young black man in Mississippi murdered in 1955 whose murderers were found not guilty at trial. Historians believe that this case sparked the active phase of the civil rights movement, but two of them who know the case extremely well don't think 60 Minutes did an accurate or even honest job of covering it:

..."60 Minutes" has done it again. Sunday’s report on the killing of Emmett Till was an example of slipshod and misleading journalism. The producers have few excuses in this case. They did it with their eyes open. They were warned not just once but several times that their forthcoming report might contain inaccuracies. In a rush to air the story, however, they plowed ahead, instead of following the first rule of journalism: getting their facts straight...

How do we know this? For nearly ten years, we have been researching the case as part of our biography of civil rights leader T.R.M. Howard, who was instrumental in uncovering evidence and finding witnesses. We interviewed three of the individuals who were the focus of the "60 Minutes" report: Mamie Till-Mobley (Emmett’s mother), Henry Lee Loggins (a black employee of Milam), and Willie Reed (a black high school student who testified at the trial). We also examined numerous FBI documents and other primary sources. Tanya Simon, an employee of "60 Minutes," heard about our research and contacted us in June. We sent her a copy of our article for the History News Network published in April and the book chapters from our biography of Howard from which it derives...

When we had a chance to see "60 Minutes" on Sunday, we were dismayed by the sloppiness of the report. It included numerous errors and misleading information. The first sign of trouble was Ed Bradley’s introduction which promised far more than it delivered. He declared that the Department of Justice had opened its investigation in the spring "based on evidence suggesting than more than a dozen people may have been involved in the murder of Emmett Till and that at least five of them are still alive. Those five could face criminal prosecution...

Despite this, "60 Minutes" never followed through on the promise to "tell" about these five suspects who are "still alive," not to mention the original twelve alleged participants in the crime. If the producers can identify these five individuals, they have a journalistic obligation to do so or, at the very least, provide some reason to believe that they even exist.

The historians who wrote this, David T. Beito and Linda Royster Beito, briefly outline what 60 Minutes got wrong, and clearly establish that 60 Minutes had the information that proved what the truth was. They chose not to use it, and, according to the Beitos, instead made unsubstantiated claims they made no effort to definitively support. The Beitos had even made the same point earlier, before 60 Minutes got involved:

The theory that more than two people took part in the crime is not new... It is possible that others besides J.W. Milam and Bryant took part in Till's kidnapping and killing. Proving this is another matter entirely. Key witnesses, including, of course, Bryant and Milam, are dead.

Memories have become hazy and unreliable. Taken together, we believe that the evidence is too thin, too circumstantial and too contradictory for definitive answers. Virtually all the other alleged accomplices are dead. Any black man who helped in the crime was probably not a free agent in any meaningful sense. For all these reasons, we are dubious that reopening the case will produce a satisfactory conclusion.

I'll pause a moment for you to recover from the shock of CBS knowingly overstating or even making up their case.

I hope this rebuttal becomes known widely, as another nail in the coffin. In this case, what Glenn Reynolds calls a "generalized demonstration of nonideological incompetence", it would seem that there's no explanation other than just that - incompetence. But I think there's more. It has to do with the media's purpose, especially in today's society, which is more reflective of the yellow journalism period of William Randolf Hearst and Joseph Pulitzer than the staid neutral legacy journalism that they all claim to practice. It is encompassed in two words: entertainment imperative.

Or, to give it more detail: They have to tell good stories to hang on to or win viewers/readers, the customers they use to sell advertising. The journalists would be overcome with haughty shock if you accused them of trying to win "customers", but they have the same goal if for (somewhat) different reasons: The greater their audience, the higher their status. The more provocative and sensational their stories, the more they feel they are "real" journalists, digging up dirt and knocking the world's socks off.

The issue of audience for money and status is often at odds with the issue of accurate, measured journalism. A program digging through the President's newest budget in great detail will have fewer viewers than yet another show talking about the Scott Peterson case. A show on the Scott Peterson case that has NEW DETAILS!! will have more viewers than a show that rehashes the old details - although the NEW DETAILS!! may be nothing of any importance or even germane to the trial. The show will make the case that their "scoop" is important, at least until they can get another one. The goal is not accuracy, or giving the public information need, but simply one of entertainment one-upsmanship.

I think that's what happened with 60 Minutes: It's a lot more dramatic, in their judgment, to say "12 involved! 5 still alive!" than whatever the truth is. I'm sure they have some foundation for those specific numbers, however shaky, but it's certainly nothing that stands the scrutiny of historians. And we see that they can't even claim, in this case, that their research was inadequate - it's very clear they just ignored it. How do you explain that away?

I'm curious to see if they try.

[Link via Instapundit]

Posted by susanna at 10:24 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

November 15, 2004

Say a prayer of thanks for this

A wonderful thing:

The birth rate among adolescent and young teen girls in the United States fell sharply in the 1990s, hitting a 58-year-low in 2002, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (news - web sites) reported on Monday...

There were 7,315 babies born to girls aged 10 to 14 in 2002, compared to 11,657 in 1990. The 2002 birth rate for this age group was 0.7 live births per 1,000 girls, one-half of the 1990 rate and the same rate as 1946.

It doesn't say what the abortion rate is for that group, which I think is a necessary corollary to get a full sense of the situation. But it's a blessing nonetheless.

Posted by susanna at 10:58 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

If you're a Democrat, do not read this!!

It's nice to know that there are actually reasonable Democrats, liberals even. This is something I already knew, since I count among my dearest friends more than one such creature. We don't talk politics much, but I know them to be generous, intelligent, loving and just all around wonderful people. And I'm relatively certain they view me in at least some shade of rosy glow.

It appears that Tish Durkin of the New York Observer is one of that kind of liberal. You know - reasonable, intelligent, disinclined to hate just for the sake of it, not in the least haughty, and with a wry sense of humor. I suspect she may even be one of those people who would restore the good name of journalism, much less liberalism, given the chance.

That's why, if you're a Democrat, please leave. Move along. Nothing to see here. It's all a Karl Rove plant! That's the ticket. Bye-bye!!

(Are they gone? Good.)

Okay. Durkin has written a classic piece of self-reflection that if read and heeded could possibly turn the Democrat party into a winning proposition. I'm linking it for several reasons - first, it's just a happy thing to see someone who voted for The Other Guy who might at least slow her car down a little bit if she saw me in my Bush 2004 t-shirt as I crossed the road. Second, it's very good writing. And third, it gives you hope that we may have an opportunity for reasoned philosophical discussion sometime. Here are her basic premises:

Bush is not an idiot. Kofi Annan is not an oracle. Michael Moore is not Everyman. Women are not ovaries with feet. And to be an American is not an embarrassment.

She explains each, quite well, asking one of the questions I find so often on my own lips:

For a group of people who pride ourselves on intellectual superiority, we seem remarkably capable of ignoring the most basic questions. Here is one: If Bush is an idiot and he has beaten us twice, what does that make us?

What, indeed? I have some suggestions.

Among my favorite discussions is that last point - you know, women as ovaries with feet. That's long been a curious thing for me. For a party that espouses not just the preference but the urgency for women to throw off eons of oppression as nothing more than sexual playthings that pop out babies, it seems bizarre that they argue hardest about... women being able to be sexual playthings if they want to be, and the supremacy of the womb as political battleground. Huh?

I do find a couple of Durkin's points still in need of a wry touch. For example:

As a liberal separation-of-church-and-state type, I don’t like the idea of a President who owes his political life to a conservative religious base.

She shows the usual liberal inability to understand what separation of church and state actually was about, originally, or that her reflexive distaste is no different from someone else saying "I don’t like the idea of a President who owes his political life to a black and minority base". In other words, her characterization is unfair and intolerant. I suspect she would not be able to name one person that she has a close acquaintance with - someone she would count a friend - who has the religious beliefs that so frighten her. She and her ilk need to do a James Ault, which is something of a "Black Like Me" for those prejudiced against the religious.

All in all, though, you should read Durkin. Um, unless you're a Democrat.

[Link found at Ipse Dixit]

Posted by susanna at 10:38 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Way to go, girl!

Condoleezza Rice will be the next Secretary of State.

I'm so happy.

She deserves it, and can't help but wash away bad memories of the first woman Secretary of State, Ms. Albright. She will serve with the calm and dignity that is her hallmark, during one of the most difficult times in our nation's history. I liked Colin Powell, and while I didn't always agree with him I thought he served the country well as Secretary of State. Rice is more hawkish, and that to me is a good thing.

You go, girl.

Posted by susanna at 09:39 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Is it real or is it comedy?

I came across Lucia's Symposium today, and it's very funny in a high-brow, name-dropping, coolly cynical way. If it is real, and I can't bring myself to think it is, then the woman is a master of self-parody. If it is not real, then this person should be elected... something important. Her focus is NYC, and she presents herself as a writer returning to her hometown Manhattan after 20 years in Chicago. A typical observation:

Word spinners prefers words to ideas and are superior name callers right out of the undergraduate Oxford debating societies. Thus Christopher HItchens calls Mayor Bloomberg a "picknose control freak" with some "tiny, constipated chambers of his mind".

One deplores the smoking ban in this city of Past Effervescence but this puerile lad goes too far in the silly article in Vanity Fair (cutely titled "I Fought the Law") where he parades some pseudo-academic references in order to show off something or other. He treats New Yorkers like dumb hicks and Graydon Carter falls for it--such a Canadian!

Eh bien, writers and journalists are always pressing their noses against the windows of power hoping by some miracle to enter.

I'm charmed.

Posted by susanna at 05:15 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

November 13, 2004

Life goes on

I apologize for not writing much lately. It's been a busy week, and by Thursday I'd managed to come down with a cold. While I don't usually (if ever) get the flu, I do get one or two colds a year and they make me very whiny. Mine always settle in my eyes and nose, and without drugs I look like I lost my last best friend. Weepy, red-eyed and drippy. Attractive, yes? It also doesn't make me inclined to fight the world's problems, or mine either, for that matter.

However, it managed to be a good day yesterday anyway. I've been intending to drum up copy writing business, which I've talked about here, and even worked on a business card and got a mailbox, but hadn't advertised yet. Now I've gotten a job almost in spite of myself! I'd applied and interviewed for a grant writing position, and sent them writing samples. They decided they didn't have the wherewithal to hire a grant writer full time, but wanted me to do a couple of newsletters and a website update for them. I met with them yesterday afternoon (being very quiet for me, since I was in a drugged fog with tissue in hand, but managing not to look like I was at a funeral), and I've got piles of reading to do. The writing is for a medical research center, and while I find their work fascinating it's not my expertise, so I have to read up on them to be able to write effectively. When the website update goes online - probably not until February or so - I'll give you the link so you too can be amazed and impressed.

The second happy thing from yesterday - I met with a supervisor for a local law enforcement agency, and she proposed a part-time job helping her organize the grant materials for her agency. She's a one-woman shop, and while she appears to be very capable, she's just overwhelmed with more than one person could logically do. Based on our conversation, she's going to ask her boss to approve a part-time, three-month contract for me to work with them. I would be very happy if it works out.

Both positions have the potential to work into something more long term, or lead to other work in similar settings. I can't take on a full-time position until I finish my dissertation - hopefully sometime next fall - so these are promising signs that I'll at least be able to keep a roof over my head and fabric in my stash until then. Meanwhile, I'm still networking with a colleague in an effort to get our rural policing research funded.

Not that I'm busy.

But it's all good. Everything is moving forward in an encouraging way, on several fronts, so who can complain? Yes, that's right, me. Always. But I won't, today, because I'm going to a quilt show! Tissue in hand, of course.

So you have a good day, and come back soon - I'll rant about something before long.

Posted by susanna at 07:36 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

November 11, 2004

Arafat's dead, and it's a happy thing

PLO leader Yasser Arafat has gone on to his reward, and I suspect it's pretty toasty where he is. The man was evil. He was not just the proximate cause, but the direct cause, of the deaths of many many Jews, and not a few Palestinians. I think his leadership of Palistinians has come close to destroying that people. There is nothing to mourn, beyond the what-might-have-been: I knew another person who did much wickedness in his life, although not to Arafat's scale, and when he died I was not sad at his passing, but rather sad that so much potential for good had been so completely unrealized. And that's the only sadness I feel for Arafat - that he was obviously a man of talent, intelligence and leadership qualities, and he chose to use them for evil instead of good. Death ends any chance he had of redemption.

So don't read the careful fence-sitting obits that will litter the press today and for the next few days. Instead, read these:

Meryl Yourish

Winds of Change, where he merits a paragraph

Wizbang, here and here

Judith Weiss at Kesher Talk, here and here

An unvarnished biography at Powerline blog

That should give you a little perspective.

Posted by susanna at 07:59 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

November 10, 2004

Don't mess with Risawn

Yesterday I posted about the sorry folks at, apologizing to the world for Bush winning the election. Risawn at Incoherent Ramblings does the heavy lifting, actually pulling out some of the photos for commentary. And fine commentary it is, as you would expect from a gun-loving Army chick from Washington state.

I can't quite figure out how to link to individual posts, so you'll have to start at the top and scroll down. But since I found all the posts from the top to the bottom interesting, I don't think that's a hardship. I also think that if she made that photo of her in camo with a very serious firearm into a poster for sell, she'd be set for any schooling she could contemplate.

Go, Risawn! Go kick some serious terrorist butt. We'll be looking for your military blog.

Posted by susanna at 05:38 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

A charitable urge in red

Michelle Malkin has an interesting chart you need to see. It's derived from this one, which compares level of charitable giving to average state income to determine which states are the most charitable. Michelle then identified which of those states went for Bush, which for Kerry. Interesting results.

Posted by susanna at 08:59 AM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

November 09, 2004

A little post-election humor

Some of you may have seen this, but some may have not. A website called is taking photos and graphics from Americans apologizing for Bush winning. It's also got some from people in other parts of the world forgiving or commiserating.

It's pretty funny. I'm sure some of these people are very nice, and cook a killer curry, and would walk your dog for free if you were going to be late getting home from work. None of them look like they'd mow the back forty for you, though, as they seem primarily to be urbanites who would say "dude" a lot. Hey I embrace them, even if they hate me and call me names. I won't even point out that the very act they're engaging in is proving them to be hypocrites. Nope. I'm all about love.

So show them a little love, and look at their sad faces. And don't laugh so loud that they'll hear you from clear down in Bush country.

Posted by susanna at 11:19 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

November 08, 2004

Looking for Powerpoint help

A friend of mine is putting together a Powerpoint presentation, and since it's not her specialty she's gotten stuck. She's already shot way past my expertise, so I'll let her explain the trouble:

I have also been working on a Powerpoint presentation to convert to a DVD presentation... [for] fund raising engagements ... Some of the slides are voice narrated and music plays throughout the entire presentation. For the life of me, I can't figure out how to adjust the sound levels on the slides that have both voice narration and music. I have tried using a sound editor for the music and the voice but when inserted back into the presentation, it's almost like with 2 different sounds to deal with, Powerpoint doesn't know what to do...

So, you who know so much more than me, how do you work it so background music works with voice narration in a Powerpoint slide show? Your help would be appreciated mightily.

Posted by susanna at 02:04 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

"You can't stop terrorism by killing terrorists"

This is why the liberals can't be trusted to run a war, especially a war on terror. From lefty blogmistress Libby Spencer on the Detroit News blog:

You can't stop terrorism by killing terrorists. They don't wear signs and they look like everyone else. You can't put terrorism in a box and blow it up and neither can you draw a border around it and keep it contained. Terrorism is not a tangible enemy, it's a state of mind and every time an innocent civilian dies or loses his home and family, the seed of hate is planted in the psyche of another human being who just lost everything that he (or she) holds dear.

This is the story the left is telling now - that killing terrorists only makes more terrrorists. In their minds, killing a terrorist insurgent is like lifting a bucket of water out of the ocean. It makes no appreciable difference in what's left. But that's not true. Terrorism isn't a constantly-refilling ocean. It does have boundaries, and while we are unlikely to scour every terrorist out of every place in the world, we can drain their swamp until it's a mostly dry ditch with a few pockets of festering rot.

When I lecture on sentencing, one question I always ask my students is this: What correctional response has the least likelihood of recidivism among those who receive it? The answer is "the death penalty". I do think it serves a deterrent purpose, but that's hard to measure so it's not easily proven. What I know unequivocally is that none of those executed have committed another crime. You can discuss the fairness vs unfairness of it all you want, but that is an unquestionable fact.

The same is true of a terrorist. If you kill a terrorist, he's not going to terrorize anyone else. If you kill enough of them, you limit their ability to spread their deadly poison both ideologically and geographically.

Another thing Spencer neglects to point out (or maybe even think about) is that many of the "innocent civilians" are killed by terrorists. The families know that, and they also know that if the coalition were to pull out of Iraq, the result would be another Saddam-like regime full of even more killing and oppression. The choice isn't between death and no death, it's between some death now/freedom later and death now/death later/freedom never.

Naturally Spencer, and the left in general, offer no solution to the problem of terror. The anti-war types would be sheep to slaughter for the terrorists if it weren't for hard people doing hard tasks to keep them safe. If we ceded to the Islamist fanatics what they require before they will put down their arms, it would be nothing less than control of the entire world under Taliban-like rule. Where short of that scenario would the anti-war left draw the line and agree to use arms? Unless they admit to a willingness to live under radical Islamist rule without fight, then their drawing a line now is nothing but hypocritical posturing. There is no other option than to fight or surrender.

As for the effect of the Iraq war on terrorism in general, we've not seen a major terrorist attack in the US since 9/11. And I think Bush, his policies and his administration deserve the credit. Certainly the left has done nothing but make matters worse, and give constant succor to the enemy.

Posted by susanna at 11:43 AM | Comments (12) | TrackBack

November 06, 2004

The Specter of judicial battles

Most of you have likely heard of the comments by PA Senator Arlen Specter, who squeaked by in his re-election bid on Tuesday only to turn around and threaten President Bush with filibusters if Bush sends reasonable (not pro-abortion) justices to the Senate Committee on the Judiciary for approval.

Specter is, of course, the ranking Republican on the Judiciary committee, and is in line for the chairmanship. However, his comments have caused a firestorm, and hopefully he will not be elevated to chair. I encourage you to read up on it, and then if you are so moved, write your senators and Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist to express your hopes that Specter will not ascend. You can find your senators' contact information at

I wrote to Alabama senators Richard Shelby and Jeff Sessions, as well as both Frist and Specter. Sessions is not only on the Judiciary committee, but was actually blocked by Specter when Bush nominated him for a federal judgeship. It was a lovely thing when Sessions later was elected to the Senate and appointed to the Judiciary committee. I'm sure Specter was delighted to see him.

Here are my emails to Specter and Shelby. You're welcome to pirate any and all if you wish.

Dear Senator Shelby -

As one of your constituents, I'm writing to request that you do everything within your power to ensure that Senator Arlen Specter not become chair of the Senate Committee on the Judiciary.

I recognize that you are not on that committee, but you are among the top Republican leaders in the Senate, and thus your influence is powerful. The justices chosen for the bench during President Bush's second term will have an impact on the path of this country for decades, possibly generations. I don't ask that you or the other senators apply an immutable litmus test for any justice. I do ask that you work to ensure that President Bush is not foiled by a nominal Republican in the President's bid to make good decisions on judicial appointments.

Please also help make the point that opposing abortion is no more "legislating morals" than is supporting abortion rights. As you know better than the vast majority of Americans, all laws are at their base moral decisions, from seat belt laws to laws against murder. Some narrow areas of regulatory and administrative law could be exceptions, but even they flower from a moral seed. We are in a time of great cultural upheaval, and liberal secularists are on the attack against conservative religionists. You, and the Republican leadership, need to make clear that the Constitutional separation of church and state does not mean a separation of moral from law.

I fear that Senator Specter sleeps with the enemy on this one. Please, please do what you can to give President Bush the greatest freedom in his judicial appointments. The entire Congress should be allowed to vote; don't let Senator Specter play Gatekeeper God.

Thank you,
Susanna Cornett
Columbiana, AL

And to Specter himself:

Senator Specter -

I am appalled at your spoken intent to play gatekeeper with the President's judicial nominees; your hasty disclaimers don't serve to offset your record, which supports the very intent you first articulated. I have written to both Alabama senators requesting that they oppose your elevation to the chairmanship of the Senate Committee on the Judiciary, and I have written to Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist as well.

While the abortion issue isn't the central reason for my objection to your leadership, it is the issue you chose to highlight and so I will address it directly. It is the height of hypocrisy for you, or anyone else, to speak of a woman's "right to choose". It is not a Constitutional right, it is a "right" conferred by justices of the Supreme Court and forced on the nation as a whole. And an anti-abortion stance is not "legislating morality" any more than a pro-choice stance is. Both are making moral judgments about the human life of both mother and the infant. If we were to stop passing laws based on moral judgments, you would be out of a job because there would be no laws passed. That's what law *is*. We need to have a debate in this country about the *morality* of abortion, not dodge it with a pseudo-scientific argument built specifically to mask its essential moral quality.

We will not have a debate in the place it belongs - the state legislatures - while liberal justices dominate the benches in this country. I do not advocate placing ideologues of any stripe in judicial positions, but I also do not appreciate a Republican senator making "pro-abortion" a litmus test for passing on judicial nominees to the full Congress. I hope this outcry of concern helps you to realize that pandering to the left is not the way to win friends in the Republican party.

I wish you the best in your Senate career, as long as it does not include chairmanship of the Senate Committee on the Judiciary.

Susanna Cornett
Columbiana, AL

One of my soapboxes is the way that the left presents any conservative push for legislation as "legislating morality" as if their own efforts are not. I wish more people would take up the cry that ALL law is about moral decisionmaking. We'd do much better at making law if we did.

Posted by susanna at 12:06 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

November 05, 2004

John Kerry actually won - the Bush victory is illegitimate

You knew they'd find some way to make this claim, don't you? Well, here's the argument, for those of you who haven't already laughed yourself sick at the brainless radical left:

I know you don't want to hear it. You can't face one more hung chad. But I don't have a choice. As a journalist examining that messy sausage called American democracy, it's my job to tell you who got the most votes in the deciding states. Tuesday, in Ohio and New Mexico, it was John Kerry.

Most voters in Ohio thought they were voting for Kerry. At 1:05 a.m. Wednesday morning, CNN's exit poll showed Kerry beating Bush among Ohio women by 53 percent to 47 percent. The exit polls were later combined with—and therefore contaminated by—the tabulated results, ultimately becoming a mirror of the apparent actual vote. [To read about the skewing of exit polls to conform to official results, click here .] Kerry also defeated Bush among Ohio's male voters 51 percent to 49 percent. Unless a third gender voted in Ohio, Kerry took the state.

So what's going on here? Answer: the exit polls are accurate. Pollsters ask, "Who did you vote for?" Unfortunately, they don't ask the crucial, question, "Was your vote counted?" The voters don't know.

Here's why. Although the exit polls show that most voters in Ohio punched cards for Kerry-Edwards, thousands of these votes were simply not recorded. This was predictable and it was predicted...

You see, those exit polls that everyone, everyone, including the left's media pets, are decrying as badly flawed and inaccurate, were in fact actually correct. So how did the votes that were actually there, go away? Why, disenfranchisement!

The election in Ohio was not decided by the voters but by something called "spoilage." Typically in the United States, about 3 percent of the vote is voided, just thrown away, not recorded. When the bobble-head boobs on the tube tell you Ohio or any state was won by 51 percent to 49 percent, don't you believe it ... it has never happened in the United States, because the total never reaches a neat 100 percent. The television totals simply subtract out the spoiled vote.

And not all votes spoil equally. Most of those votes, say every official report, come from African-American and minority precincts...

It's a pretty hilarious argument, and proveably false although the left wouldn't believe it if John Kerry himself said it. Some beliefs are so deeply ingrained that no logic or fact will dislodge it. The belief that Republicans always steal elections is such a belief on the part of the left. And it comes from people who are apparently otherwise bright and capable. But somehow when it comes to politics, their brains take a dive into the dark tarpits of conspiracy theories and gnashing Republican evil.

All I have to say is...


[Link via Tim Blair]

Posted by susanna at 09:47 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

November 04, 2004

Do you notice anything?

Just take a moment to compare these images:

2000 Election - Bush vs Gore

2000countymap USA Today.jpg

2004 Election - Bush vs Kerry
2004countymap3 USA Today.jpg

If you said, "Hey, there's less blue this time!" you'd be correct. Notice where the blue is, too. It's nothing new - those of you who follow politics will have seen these maps before, and seen the startling fact that this is a red country with a few blue splotches. But it's not something that a lot of people think about when they consider this election. What's amazing is that even with the country looking like this, Bush won only 3.5 million more votes than Kerry.

The thing that occurs first to me is - we need to break out California into two electoral college units. Second is - this is why we have the electoral college to begin with. It makes sure that all Americans have a voice and a vote, not just the ones living in the major populations centers who are hammered constantly with the Democrat voices of class envy and social liberalism.

I think it also shows that we have some work to do. I hope in four years we see still less blue.

Posted by susanna at 04:53 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

November 03, 2004

A graphic representation

I've had several conversations recently with a man who does projects throughout the state of Alabama. On numerous occasions, he mentioned a new project he's wanting to set up to create new jobs. When he spoke of it, he said it was going to happen in "the black belt".

I'd never heard of that before, and it always makes me think of someone doing karate. But I finally realized he meant a section of Alabama with a heavy concentration of African American residents in mostly rural areas. I wasn't quite sure where it was, although I thought probably south of B'ham.

I don't have to wonder anymore. Think you can find it?

UPDATE: Welll... I stand corrected! Beth W says in comments that the Black Belt actually refers to the soil in that stretch of southern Alabama, a black rich soil that grew cotton well, and thus brought the cotton plantations. Whether that in turn resulted in a solid section of rural area with an unusually high level of black residents today, I can't say. But the county election map does seem to give credence to that speculation.

Posted by susanna at 05:24 PM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

November 02, 2004

Amanda the Republican says - VOTE!


with a Safari Art Elephant
in Washington, DC

Posted by susanna at 08:20 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

The best ticket ever!

Although my brother and I disagree on politics sometimes, I'd have to say this ticket would get my vote too.

Posted by susanna at 04:23 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

November 01, 2004

Where I am these days

I'm still blogging on the Detroit News Election 2004 blog, and encourage you to read it. I'll be there, as far as I know, through tomorrow.

I've also started blogging today on The Command Post, on their Election 2004 section. I'll be covering Alabama's races, and any news pertaining to Alabama. If you want to see just what I'm posting, without the annoying interference of the rest of the country, go to the Alabama-only section.

Posted by susanna at 07:23 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack